Californian police have detained another hacker which hijacked phones to steal cryptocurrencies, which he then, later on, used to buy a luxury car.
As reported by Motherboard, Xzavyer Narvaez, age 19, has been arrested on the grounds that he committed cybercrimes which include identity fraud and grand theft.
The report states that Narvaez used some of the stolen Bitcoin to purchase luxury cars. Authorities discovered that Narvaez bought a 2018 McLaren by paying part of the sum with Bitcoin and by trading-in a 2012 Audi R8 via his DMV records.
Records from his Bitcoin payment provider BitPay and exchange Bittrex showed that he had a volume of 156 Bitcoin (worth $1 million), read one of the court documents. This new arrest mirrors the similar case of Joel Ortiz whose modus operandi was also hijacking phone numbers to enter in exchange accounts and steal Bitcoin from victims. The latter case happened earlier this year and was the first of its kind to hit the cryptoverse.
Narvaez started being investigated by the police when they found a cellphone use to own Ortiz which had in its history a log off Narvaez’s Gmail account. AT&T also gave the authorities the unique identifying numbers of the cell phones used in the hack, the coordinates of the phone towers they connected, as well as Narvaez’s call records. The information showed that Narvaez’s phone was and one of the victims’ phones were connected in the same time frame to the same tower.
SIM swapping or “port out scam” involves making a phone provider to give the target’s phone number to a hacker’s sim card. Once the new phone number is in the hacker’s possession he can then use it to reset the victim’s passwords and freely access their accounts, including those on cryptocurrency exchanges.
But not all criminals use the same methods when employing this scheme. Some manipulate the customer service agents of telecoms providers to believe they were being targeted. Others use the help of staff from within the telecom company to make the SIM swap.
Just a week ago, investor Michael Terpin took his phone provider AT&T to court, claiming that his crypto holdings worth of $24 million were stolen due to two isolated hacks which took place over the course of seven months. Terpin has asked $200 million in punitive damages and $24 million as compensation from the telecoms provider.